Egypt, part two


Northern Egypt

From Luxor to the Libyan border (8 to 22 March 2002)
The Nile Valley between Luxor and Cairo is the most heavily policed area in the whole of Egypt. We had visited to ask the Tourist Police whether it was possible to drive up the Nile from Luxor to Cairo. The convoy left every day at 8 am, 14.00 and 18.00 from "Convoy Street".  At 7.30 the next morning there were 35 coaches queuing up with their engines on in "Convoy Street" ! Troopie was joined by 2 Kiwis on their BMW's around the world. The convoy was ended by an armoured Benz G-Wagen that squeezed out any car that would get within the convoy... Luckily, after an hour's drive, the convoy split and we ended up with a much smaller group of vehicles that were going to visit the Temple of Abidos


Heading northwards in convoy along the Nile


The temple of Abidos 


The beginning of the end of our love story with Egyptians
After our visit at the temple, all other tourists returned to Luxor and we were left alone with a police escort. It did not take long for us to realise what was going to happen as after 15 minutes of driving, our escort stopped at a checkpoint and we were given another "escort". The whole system is absolutely ridiculous. Escorts are needed to go from A to B but not from B to A on the same road ! Also, absolutely nothing would stop a terrorist who wanted to hurt us one way or the other. In the following hours, we must have had at least a dozen different escorts. Driving at 60 km\h, wasting time waiting for the next car to get ready, driving at 70 km\h... We had the best and the worst drivers... What an afternoon ! The so-called escort would usually consist of a battered Japanese pick-up with an armed man sitting in the back. At one stage, one of the soldiers in the back stood up on the back bumper of the car and started dancing for our entertainment. We felt very safe indeed. The cherry on the cake came as we were given an armoured car (pic below).


Our series of police "escorts" as we drive from Luxor to Cairo


That evening, we did not reach further than El Minya. After a long day of stressful driving, we were shattered. We went straight to a good hotel to ask them where we might be allowed to park the car and were lucky to be greeted by a manager of the local tourist police who told us we could sleep in front of their head office. After a series of emails (to get our Libyan visas) and a quick dinner, we set up camp and went to bed. On a Thursday evening (before Friday which is the 7th day in Muslim countries), children were playing football in the street. Christian had been sleeping for an hour when Kathleen woke him up looking outside through one of our tent windows. There were young boys having fun all around us. We shouted from within to try and get them to leave us alone. That was not to be. A quarter of an hour later the same youths started to bang on the car and jump on the bumpers. Kathleen went out and caught a young boy who had the intention of splashing the car with a mixture of water and soap and could not help but slap him. Fifteen minutes later, they were no longer children but young men and the crowd that was having their evening's entertainment must have totaled 60 or 70 people. Christian came out and asked the police to do something... As a new crowd gathered we decided it was time to leave. 


23.00, at the check post trying to leave Minya


Problem is the Police did not want to let us out of town. We were told it was not safe out there. We told them there's a crowd in town that we cannot control. It took 1 hour and the waking up of one big potato of Minya's security to finally get going. Then something even nastier happened : as we were being escorted a truck overtook us and deliberately slammed his brakes in front of the police car. The police are not that well liked it seems. They stopped the truck, hit the driver and a lot of hustling and shouting went on before we were ion the move again. Unfortunately for us the same thing was to happen again the following night in Cairo (see Cairo page).


Our final resting place t after Minya (left), a local woman (centre), our first sight of another pyramid 50 km south of Cairo


Car in camping in Egypt
Again all the stuff that did not get its own page but that we wanted to show you !


Toyota Alexandria, 25 km out of town but well worth the effort. A great team.


He is famous all over the world : Tintin (left), picnic one afternoon besides the pyramids (centre)


Here are our extra pages on Egypt II :

Luxor : treasures & tourists Cairo : pyramids & traffic Alexandria & the coast

We will be happy to leave !

Egypt, part I Back to Trip page Heading to Libya